Everyone on twitter seemed to be most excited about Tarzan's plastic surgeon martyr complex, accusing Chelsea of holding a subliminal grudge against him, due to previously unexplained (also imaginary) dissatisfaction with the plastic surgeon who augmented her breasts. (Several chivalrous gentlemen tweeted Chelsea to reassure her that she had no reason to be dissatisfied.) We would imagine that this was a nefarious scheme cooked up by Tarzan and production, in order to insert numerous gratuitous shots of Chelsea's chest. For expository/evidenciary purposes, of course. But alas, this is something that we simply could not verify via twitter. Twitter really needs to work on a technology by which to add live screen caps to tweets.
But that wasn't Tarzan's only big social media splash this episode. There was also something about telling Probst the "game is afoot" and that Probst himself was being played, plus something regarding a "rantic" and "getting Tarzaned." We're not really sure what that's all about (please provide more context in your live tweets, people!), but if your (nick)name has already become a Survivor verb, chances are you're officially a Troll. See also: Hantzed.
Really, though, this week's award is hardly a surprise, right? This is why actually watching the show may be optional at this point. Since Tarzan is doing an excellent job of setting himself up as the most plausible jury goat, we'll just go ahead and pencil him in for this award for the rest of the season.
This one was a tough call: Christina or Alicia? Alicia or Christina? Both were, as recently as two episodes ago, in extreme danger of being voted out, as their caustic feud provided fuel for the bulk of both the previews and the episode. Now? Seen, but not heard. As is Leif, but we assume he was asleep in a box, or something.
Still, Christina received two more votes this week. Alicia, in contrast, has never received any. Tarzan wants to be Alicia's friend, but not Christina's. This is one of the big mysteries of the season: how is this possible? Is there some secret stash of "Christina is really annoying" clips CBS is saving up for a future episode (as they did with Edna last season, before promptly ignoring her again)? We guess we'll have to break down and actually watch the episode to try to puzzle this out.
Update: Nope, no help. Christina was mentioned as being annoying (by other people), but was not given any screen time to either support or refute this, apart from running ahead in the reward challenge. Maybe it's an urban legend. Either way, the ICU is hers.
As we mentioned above, Tarzan's scene-chewing (and wood-chewing) "rantics" are positioning him nicely to be everyone's number one choice for an easily beatable final three pawn. The one other part of that game that's required? Lack of challenge ability. If you're getting dragged to the final three, you actually have to be dragged. A late-game string of immunity wins can easily be spun to the jury as "I got here under my own power, I deserve to win."
For a while there (such as the trampoline challenge for new Manono), it looked like Tarzan was unaware of this, and actually trying to win. But since the merge, whether by design or by accident, he's become a perceived liability, actively inhibiting Jonas in last week's reward challenge, and being the only person not picked for this week's one. This can only work in Tarzan's favor. And he should get bonus points here for groaning extensively as he stood up and hobbled off to vote at tribal council. Could he be sandbagging it, for exactly this effect? Maybe. And if so, it takes but one "L" to turn a Sitty into a Slitty.
This is probably even closer to a lock than Tarzan's death grip on the Trolly Award. Watching Kim's strategic mastery is like watching an Olympic medalist compete in their medal event against a bunch of kindergarteners. She's simply playing at several levels above everyone else on the show. Flawlessly setting in motion the Troyzan-Mike conflict that allowed her to break up the new Salani alliance long enough to eliminate a loose cannon/potential physical immunity threat. Swiftly, effortlessly dousing the potentially explosive situation when Jay went running to Michael to warn him (thanks to Chelsea's oblivious chatter). We didn't see whose idea it was to get Christina and Alicia to vote for Tarzan, but we might as well give Kim credit for that, too. For her completely dominant performance, Kim walks away with this week's Slitty Award.
And yet... it all seems too perfect, doesn't it? The one potential flaw in Kim's game of overlapping alliances (mostly old Salani vs. new Salani) is that at this point, with 11 (now 10) people left, there are still a huge number of people involved. And as we saw with Chelsea's mistimed talk with Jay, the more variables there are, the more opportunities there are for things to fall apart accidentally. While we'd be perfectly happy to watch Kim march virtually unhindered to victory and the million dollars, we can't help thinking that the whole Jay, underdog-in-the-IC, "slow and steady" storyline was established by the editors as a hint that, as in Vanuatu, this all-women's alliance may not as unbreakable as it seems.
Could Jay be that underdog, slow-and-steady person? He was sharp enough to parse both Chelsea's "not necessarily" and Alicia, Kat and Christina's collective silence, then figure out what was actually going on. Troyzan, in contrast, was pwned by Kim. Maybe it's Leif? All three voted for Mike, against their (shown) best interests. So Kim is still in control. Probably.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Michael Jefferson